BAME theatre group take on the Conservative government with a big message about the Windrush scandal. ( @UCLanEandD )

The Community Centre , an original and successful play by new black British playwright, Nicola Gardner, is a comedic account of the recent Windrush scandal, which saw many black British citizen illegally deported from the UK. Nicola’s play was also written to redress the sparsity of roles available to people of colour in the UK. The show was recently staged at the Edinburgh Fringe but in preparation for that, it was performed at the Continental in Preston. Now, post Edinburgh success, the School of School of Journalism, Media & Performance and in association with Lancashire Research Centre on Migration, Diaspora and Exile Institute (MIDEX) is bringing the show back to the Preston campus.

The play will follow a Q&A and panel discussion with Nicola Gardner, John Klark, Professor Theresa Saxon and academics from IBAR, MIDEX and community group Windrush Generation and Descendants UK and with limited places available  Booking is a must and you can do that here

https://www.eventbrite.com/d/united-kingdom–preston/windrush/

The Preston performance is March 19th at 1800hrs- 2030hrs and tickets are FREE

Nicola Gardner  said: “The Community Centre comedy show is far more than just wonderful entertainment. This ethnic minority theatre group are not afraid to highlight important social injustice. , “The show criticises Theresa May and Boris Johnson as it examines the effects of the Windrush scandal on BAME communities. The Conservative government’s dreadful handling of the crisis will never be forgotten by the BAME community – the repercussions are far too damaging to simply be brushed under the carpet by the bestowing of a token Windrush Anniversary Day. , “As far back as Ancient Greece and Shakespearean drama, theatre has been a crucial channel by which playwrights and performers communicated important messages concerning social and political upheaval.”

The play, which is attracting interested from TV production companies interested in turning the story into a sit come format  provides roles for several black actors plus Asian actor Alex Kapila  with great reviews coming from its debut performances around the country/

The show is directed by John Klark and features among its cast, feature the following.

Nicola Gardner (Coronation Street’, ‘Emmerdale’, ‘The Royal’ & ‘Brookside’.)
Tony McPherson (Grange Hill , ‘Life and social skills )
Alex Kapila (iBoy, Searching For The Lady Of The Lake)
Andrew George (‘Scott and Bailey’ and a club bouncer in ‘Coronation Street)
Liam Grunshaw ( Stage Shows of ‘The Package’, ‘Othello’ )
Janet Lilley ( Mubarakan’,’The Detectorists)

As an established performer who has appeared in TV dramas over the years, Nicola Gardner has first-hand experience of the problem within the British media industry, which ultimately led to her writing The Community Centre. Nicola, who has two roles in The Community Centre, added: “I wrote a show that would give significant roles to artists from ethnic minorities and enable us to showcase our talents on a bigger stage and in a more significant way. I strongly believe in using performance as a theatrical tool for sharing and highlighting social dilemmas.

“After years of being the doctor or nurse with a few lines to say in TV productions, I decided to write my own show and make my own luck. The Community Centre has opened up opportunities for underused minority artists from the world of acting and also film production.

“We are all delighted that we get a chance to highlight social issues in a comedic way. Collectively we are mixed-race, African, African-Caribbean, Asian, English and Eastern European – the show represents Manchester’s rainbow population, a fact that is not effectively shown on TV.

“The Pensioners share funny and sometimes heart-breaking insight into the experience of Caribbean migrants & how they helped to shape the UK. Older black people are under-represented in mainstream My aim is that people who come to see The show will leave with a much better tolerance of people different to themselves.

Find out more about The Community Centre at www.thecommunitycentre.net

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